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united by commerce, and literature, and the love of kind, and the instincts of society, as children of a common parent, and made in the image of the same God. In saying this I speak, of course, far more of that which ought to be than of that which actually is. Sin and selfishness are busy, separating families, dividing nations, sowing discord over the whole world ; but nature will show itself in spite of all which hinders it, and it is plain that unity is the intention of our Maker, and the point to which all things tend. The perfection of man is the perfection of society. If there be a state in which man is perfect it is a perfect society.
Heaven, then, must be a city. To make one man perfect and happy there must be many men around him, mingling their lives with his, giving good and getting good, borrowing and paying again. Great happiness is like a great stream, composed of many little streams, which lose themselves in each other, and find in that loss a fuller and a nobler life.
And it is a great city. To make that home a place of perfect blessedness it must have many mansions. Numbers are not enough unless they are great numbers. Society could not attain perfection unless it were society upon a large scale. Heaven must be a great place if men are to be greatly happy in it, and it must be full. And so it is. The Angels which throng its streets have no number; they are “ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands.” And the redeemed, who there shall be above the Angels, are not less numerous than they. The multitude seen by the beloved Apostle were such
man could number, of all nations, and kingdoms, and peoples, and tongues.” As many as
are the leaves in a forest, as many as are the stars upon the blue sky, as many as are the grains of sand upon the seashore,-so many are they who found no city in which to dwell on earth, and were
gathered out of the lands from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south,” by Him to whom they cried in their trouble, and who delivered them out of their distress.
But if their numbers are great their goodness is infinite. They are perfect. Not a stain or spot is left upon their snowy fleeces, for they have all been “ washed and made white in the blood of the Lamb.” They are the flower of man's race. They have been taken up, one here and one there, a few at a time, through long ages, out of the world in which they grew like flowers in a wilderness, to be transplanted into the field of God; and there, by God Himself, and His ministering servants, they have been nurtured with most loving care, till each had attained his own beauty, and arrayed himself in his robe of many colours, which henceforth he shall wear for ever in that perfect Paradise which is above. They are the choice ones among men, picked out by God Himself for graces which His hand had sown within them, out of every people and every generation from the beginning of time to the end. They are the gentlest, the tenderest, the kindest, the noblest of mankind. They are the men who have had the most wisdom, the most courage, the most patience, the most love of all who have ever lived on earth. These are they who did the deeds, and thought the thoughts, and spoke the words with which, above all other thoughts, and deeds, and words, the world was benefited. These are the lights which saved the world from darkness. These are the salt which withstood the earth's corruption. If we would find the true heroes and the men who were indeed great, we must look for them there; for there are those who loved not self but loved their fellows, whose life was spent in sacrifice, who witnessed for truth unto death. The gold of earth refined till all that is impure is separated from it, is stored up there as in a treasury, and is the wealth of Him whose riches are the souls which He has ransomed by His own inestimable sacrifice. And if
ask me how this vast society is held together, and what the ground is of that perfect unity which nothing mars, I tell you that the bond, the cement, the associating principle is that law which is not law, for it is love. They love each other with a perfect love. Their home is Heaven, because Heaven is the resting-place of love. There is no strife there, for every heart keeps time, and every pulse is in tune with that one heart which loves the universe, and loves especially the saints whom He has redeemed. They are one family, for they have one Almighty Father. They are children of the new Adam, and members of the same loving Lord. They love each other because they all love Him. They do the will of God, and thus are brothers, because they are of kin with Him who said, “ Whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in Heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.” The very air which they breathe is love. The pavement on which they tread is the precious gold of unity. The shoes in which they walk are peace. They live to bless each other. Their eyes are fixed together on Him whom it is their bliss to see. Their voices blend in harmony as they for ever sing His praise. Their
thought is only how to serve Him. Their will is one because they have no will but that His will may be done. Thus working, praising, loving, they have no labour and are always at rest ; for the soul rests when it worships, and adoration is the repose of spirits. As God both works and rests for ever, so man, when He has learnt to labour truly, has found his truest peace.
Love, then, is the bond of Heaven, and it is love which lasts. It is of the nature of love to last. There is nothing more fixed on earth, nothing to which we can trust more certainly, than love. “Many waters cannot quench love,” but true affection lives through all changes, itself unchanged, unchangeable. And if this be true of that poor imperfect love which
find on earth, how much more surely may we look for it in the perfect love of Heaven. The city which we seek is a continuing city, because it is a city of love. It must last, for there is no destroying element within it, and it is built out of that charity which “never faileth.” The holy city, new Jerusalem, is the Bride of Christ, who loves her Lord abidingly. Her corner-stone, her founder, her builder, her husband, is He who loved her so exceedingly that He bought her out of slavery with His own blood.
Her glory is the glory of God, who is love. Her foundations are the twelve Apostles who followed the footsteps of their Master, and loved not their own lives because they loved the world. Her gates are of pearls, the emblem of purity: and where was ever purity except in union with love? Her walls are love, for their length, and depth, and height, and breadth are measured for us, and what is there which hath such length, and breadth, and depth,
and height except the unmeasured love of Christ, “ which passeth knowledge ?” That city must continue, because it is full of love. How can it ever
It is the city of God who cannot change, and how then can He cease? The rock on which it stands is truth. Its walls are salvation. Its gates are praise. What can ever shake it? Sin cannot enter there, for sin is conquered. Death cannot lay his hands upon it, for death and hell are overcome.
The rest of the redeemed is everlasting. They are at home for ever when once they have reached their heavenly home. The blessings of earth are only for a time. Joy is dashed with sorrow. Rest is but a change from toil. Home is but a fixed spot among sands which are for ever shifting. Love is but a single star amid clouds and darkness. But the felicity of saints is everlasting. They rest in a love which is infinite, and abides for evermore. They have reached their Father's house, from which they will go forth again no more for ever. They have fought their last fight: their warfare is at length over; they have found a lasting peace at home. They have done their last work: no labour now shall make their bodies weary; no cares shall disturb their spirits ; no thoughts shall rack their aching heads; their working day is past for ever; the sunset has called them home. They have sailed their last voyage : waves will no longer buffet; tempests will never rage again; calms will no more baffle; the port is gained at last; they have dropped anchor; they are at home. Their journeyings and pilgrimage are at an end : no more shall they be footsore and weary; no more shall they wander in deserts where there is no way ; tents shall be no more their dwelling-place, nor inns their rest; they confessed